Social Media Safety ??? Tips for Parents

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September 16, 2014

Social Media and Internet Safety ??? Tips for Parents

A Summary of DSA???s Social Media Seminar on September 4, 2014

by Michael Babler, DSA Technology Teacher and Media Advisor

On Thursday, September 4, over 50 parents attended a seminar held at Divine Savior Academy, at which four staff members discussed the realities of social media among today???s teenagers.

Mrs. Monica Sanchez, DSA???s school counselor,??began the presentation by describing what typical and atypical behaviors found in middle school and high school age students, especially focusing on social needs. She emphasized the point that teenagers have the need to feel connected. Years ago, connections were fostered through face-to-face interactions, with known and well-acquainted friends. Today???s youth are turning to Internet-based social interactions to fulfill their need for being connected. Mrs. Sanchez highlighted the need for parents to stay connected to their children and provided some tips:

  1. Demonstrate an interest in their life
  2. Listen more, speak less
  3. Respect your child
  4. Spend quality time with them
  5. Be a guide in their life
  6. Lead by example
  7. Establish clear limits and boundaries
  8. Establish consequences if rules are broken

Pastor Carlos Leyrer, school pastor and superintendent, continued the presentation by emphasizing the problems that can and do arise from unmonitored and continuous use of Internet-connected devices and social media. He explained that the number one source of problems at school last year related back to students??? use of social media. He strongly urged parents to take an active role in monitoring their child???s use of technology and in encouraging safe and positive interactions online.

Mr. Michael Babler, technology teacher and media adviser at DSA, outlined a number of steps parents can take to control the settings and content their children are interacting with on Internet-connected devices.

  1. According to a federal law (COPPA), websites and associated organizations are prohibited from collecting personal information from children under the age of 13. As such, the terms of service for all social media platforms prohibit users under 13 from using their services.
  2. When children are of appropriate age to use social services, use privacy settings to protect the user. For example, the Facebook Safety Center provides details about how to manage a Facebook account and use appropriate privacy settings.
  3. On a wider scale, use tools found in the Google Safety Center??or Microsoft???s Family Safety Center??to learn about the provided safety features to protect your children online.
  4. If your children are using Apple devices, consider setting up restrictions to limit the features and downloading abilities on the device.
  5. Make use of the parental control features your cell phone provider, Internet service provider, and/or cable or satellite company provide. Some examples these services provide allow you to set usage limits, filter content, control downloads, and block unwanted numbers. Here are links to some popular services:
    1. Verizon Wireless Family Safeguards & Controls
    2. AT&T Wireless Parental Controls
    3. AT&T Internet Parental Controls??
    4. Comcast Xfinity (TV & Internet) Parental Controls
    5. T-Mobile Family Allowances??

Looking for more parental tips and resources? Check out these website for great lists, articles, and solutions to the problems you may be facing.

  1. Safety Web: Resources??
  2. StaySafeOnline.org
  3. OnGuardOnline.gov

For more information, please contact Michael Babler at michael.babler@dslca.org, Pastor Carlos at carlos.leyrer@dslca.org, or Monica Sanchez or monica.sanchez@dslca.org.

Divine Savior Academy is a Christian academy dedicated to excellence. Located in Miami proper, DSA is the only private??Christian school in Doral and serves the community with early childhood, elementary school, middle school and high school??programs. Accredited by AISF, SACS, AI, and NCPSA, Divine Savior Academy provides a college-prep curriculum that??prepares students academically, athletically, socially, artistically and spiritually in a safe and moral environment.

Dana Kirchoff
Dana Kirchoff
Dana Kirchoff is the Director of Communications at Divine Savior Academy.